A healthy dose of leadership

Amy Mangan, the executive director of the AventHealth Ocala Foundation, is on a mission to drive more dollars to the hospital’s life-saving care.

Amy Mangan, the Executive Director of the AdventHealth Ocala Foundation, poses for a photo at AdventHealth in Ocala, Fla. on Monday, August 14, 2023. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2023.

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Posted August 15, 2023 | By Julie Garisto

Amy Mangan has acquired accolades across the Southeast for her leadership and engagement expertise. She has led people and policies in energy companies, colleges and in her own home office as a published author and journalist.

But as multifaceted as Mangan’s career may seem, one significant throughline ties it all together: a passion for connectivity.

Mangan’s affinity for initiating and fostering vital relationships coupled with a desire to improve the health and well-being of her hometown are prime motivators in her current role, as the executive director of the AdventHealth Ocala Foundation (AHOF).

“I believe that the core of this role is all about connection,” Mangan shared.

“It’s about bridging the interests and passions of our donors or potential donors to the needs of our patients, and nothing gives me greater joy than making that connection from a vision to a reality. I have a front-row seat to the impact of those successful connections in our hospital every day, from the programs that we provide in women’s and children’s services to cancer survivorship programs, to how we help our pediatric patients. It’s just so gratifying.”

One major AHOF milestone includes funding the McKenzie Kearney Gray Maternal Fetal Medicine program, which opened earlier this year and is highly specialized in prenatal and postnatal care. Mangan said the foundation is continuing to drive dollars to this area of AdventHealth Ocala.

Funded in part by local philanthropists Michael and Kathleen Smith through a donation of $1.7 million to the AHOF, the unit was named in honor of McKenzie Kearney Gray, daughter of Ryan and Kait Gray, of Ocala. McKenzie was born premature and passed away days later.

“Before I took the position, I was always struck by how the deeds of foundation members matched their words and service,” Mangan said. “They stuffed backpacks for kids for over eight hours just a few weekends ago, and they continue to show up at employee appreciation events. I see that reliability and hard work in action here in our leadership team here at the hospital. … It’s just a really uplifting environment.”

Mangan also expressed pride in the Whit Palmer Memorial Fund, named after the first-ever chair of the foundation. Palmer’s wife, Diane, and his, daughters Margaret and Susie, members of the foundation’s board, helped create the fund to help those areas in the hospital considered to have the greatest need.

“As a result, we now have a bereavement program where we provide resources and tools and support to patients who are going through the grief process,” Mangan noted.

A major part of Mangan’s new role at the foundation involves finding novel approaches to engaging the community and potential donors through cultural activities.

The foundation has corralled the musically talented practitioners and professionals at AdventHealth—who double as musicians for the AdventHealth Orchestra—to perform with percussionist and hospital CEO Erika Shula in “An Evening of Mission and Music” at the Reilly Art Center at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.

“The AdventHealth’s motto to ‘feel whole’ speaks to all facets of our lives, which also includes cultural opportunities,” she emphasized.

In this spirit, she and her colleagues are organizing this unique cultural event to raise more funds.

And, speaking of the Reilly, Mangan’s husband, Mike, serves as secretary of the Reilly Art Center’s Board of Directors. He and Amy have been married 33 years and have two adult children who have flown the coop, but the empty nesters now have two Lhasa Poo pups, Lucy and Lizzy, to spoil.

The couple enjoys walking together under the mossy oak canopies in Ocala’s historic district, , and taking drives through Marion County’s horse country listening to music.

Making time to decompress is paramount to Mangan. A master multitasker, she also carves out time as the new chair of the 2023-24 Leadership Florida Board of Directors.

Before taking on the role at the AHOF and Leadership Florida, Mangan commuted from Ocala to Charlotte to fulfill the duties of a supervisory role at Duke Energy.

“I was fortunate to serve as Duke Energy’s corporate-wide director of stakeholder engagement,” Mangan explained. “I was responsible for engagement projects for our six-state enterprise. But before that, I led Duke Energy’s Florida engagement team and foundation teams, so I have development in my portfolio. … I’m thrilled that I now get to serve the hospital in the town where I was born, at the hospital where my husband and one of our two children were born.”

Rewinding back to her early career in the ’90s, Mangan served as dean and a history professor at the College of Central Florida and served in other roles as a senior leader in higher education, managing trustee and community relations, educational advocacy, foundation giving strategy and corporate training for both Santa Fe and CF.

Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in history from the University of West Florida.

Mangan also earned a certificate in external affairs from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

She has served as a board director for The Nature Conservancy of Florida, Prospera USA Hispanic Business Initiative and various economic development organizations.

Mangan is also a published author of four books and contributor to publications including “Salon,” “Southern Living,’’ ‘‘Better Homes & Gardens,’’ ‘’Thrive Global’’ and ‘’Southern Accents.’’ A former columnist for the “Ocala Star-Banner,” she’s the recipient of two Florida Magazine Association Charlie awards for writing excellence.

Two of her books were published late last year and are available at amazon.com; “Dining Room Dispatches: A Year of Curated Musings on Life and Home”; the other, “The History Lesson,” a satirical novel about a professor contending with university life.

Mangan’s uncanny insights into the lives of others as an author and as a community leader will no doubt inspire her in her mission to fund AdventHealth Ocala’s state-of-the-art services for Ocalans in need of first-rate healthcare.

“Amy is well respected and has notable credibility in our community,” said Rusty Branson, former chair of the AdventHealth Ocala Foundation Board and current member of the AdventHealth Ocala Hospital Board.

“She has worked professionally in our community for over 25 years. As such, Amy brings her extensive network of friends and contacts to the foundation. She also brings a renewed excitement on how AdventHealth Ocala Foundation can help the hospital meet the critical healthcare needs of our community which, in turn, will help to make Ocala that much better of a place to live and work. Her passion for helping her community is contagious.”

For more information on the AdventHealth Ocala Foundation’s “Evening of Mission and Music,” bit.ly/an-evening-of-mission-and-music or reillyartscenter.com.

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